From, at least, 1963 onwards (although arguably before), employers have had a legal duty to monitor the level of noise in the workplace and to protect their employees from excessive exposure as it became known that noise in the workplace could cause hearing loss. Where the noise is assessed as being excessive they are required to take reasonable steps to reduce the noise levels. Where this is not possible they have been required to provide and enforce the wearing of hearing protection.
Many jobs and workplaces require employees to work in environments where noise levels and patterns are potentially hazardous to hearing. As stated above employers have a responsibility to provide their employees with adequate protection against this noise. If this protection is missing or flawed, the result can be serious and long-lasting damage to hearing and can result in noise induced hearing loss, also referred to as industrial deafness, for which you may claim compensation.
If you have previously been exposed to high levels of noise at work and you now find that you have to turn the volume on your television or radio up, or cannot follow a conversation where there is background noise, or have difficulty hearing the telephone or doorbell, then you may be suffering from noise induced hearing loss. Hearing loss may or may not be accompanied by tinnitus – a ringing, whistling, humming or buzzing in one or both ears. You may also be entitled to claim compensation for tinnitus caused by exposure to excessive noise in the workplace (when not accompanied with hearing loss).
If you have operated noisy machinery or have been in the vinicty of others operating noisy machinery, or had an occupation where you were exposed to loud noises on a continuous basis, then your hearing may have been damaged. The severity of noise induced hearing loss can vary depending on the length and level of exposure suffered by the individual. Noise induced hearing loss can arise from exposure to a brief but intense sound, such as an explosion, as well as from regular exposure to excessive noise over a period of time.
If you feel that you suffer from symptoms of noise induced hearing loss and/or tinnitus, or have received medical advice that you do, and are or have been subjected to excessive noise at work, then you may have a claim for compensation against your employer or former employer.
It is important to seek advice early to ensure that any claim is brought in time. Generally a claim must be commenced within three years from an individual’s date of knowledge that they have noise induced hearing loss and/or tinnitus.
Thompsons Solicitors have been dealing with noise induced hearing loss claims for some time and have considerable expertise in this area. We have pursued claims against the Police, Prison Service and Ministry of Defence on behalf of former and current personnel. We have also successfully pursued claims against employers engaged in manufacturing or other trades that employ noisy processes or use noisy machinery.
If you think you may have a claim for noise induced hearing loss and/or tinnitus please contact us to discuss how to proceed.